The most interesting news story I am following now is the back-and-forth between the Iraqi government and the U.S. over the future of U.S. troops in Iraq. The language being used is sharp on all sides, with the situation so tense that Maliki has had to fly to Tehran twice to ease the nerves of Iran’s government.
At issue is the terms of the U.S. presence – will they be given free reign to do whatever they please or will the Iraqis have full autonomy, as they ought to if they are to be an independent state? The U.S. is reportedly demanding full rights to airspace 30,000 feet over the whole country, as well as immunity from prosecution for U.S. soldiers and contractors. The Iraqis aren’t having it, the Iranians sure don’t want it, and the whole deal must be finished by December 31st when the current U.S. mandate expires.
And the Bushies really don’t want that. Because that would mean that the Iraqi government might be dealing with the Democrats and not them, and a less favorable deal, from the military’s perspective, might be struck.
This is part of a broader, more geopolitical story about the future of the neo-cons. In other words, what is their legacy going to be? What permanent changes will they leave, if indeed they are voted out of office in November?
Their number one priority is maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq, and they will be agressive and probably desperate right until the end, of that I’m certain.
The best explanation of all this I have read is Dan Froomkin’s, who in fact is doing columns all week on Bush’s legacy.